BRENTWOOD -- Following a seven-year hiatus, Brentwood plans to re-establish its reserve police officer program to strengthen law enforcement services within the city.
The department would like to hire 10 people, Brentwood police Capt. James Martinez said.
According to Martinez, interest in community policing is back and there is more community involvement in local law enforcement. He added that historically Brentwood maintained a strong reserve program dating back to the 1960s, but it was disbanded in 2006 due to retirements, attrition and less qualified candidates.
"It is a great first step and a great way to get more boots on the ground," said Brentwood Vice Mayor Joel Bryant.
Martinez noted that reserve police officers can assist full-time police officers by transporting arrestees to jail in Martinez or covering weekend events like the Brentwood CornFest. These trained, volunteer police officers have the same authority as sworn officers when they are under the supervision of a full-time police officer.
For the 2013-2014 fiscal year, the reserve program will cost the city about $153,050 for training, equipment and benefits. Councilman Steve Barr said that this extra staffing is a great bargain and a way for city officials to support public safety, a priority voiced by many Brentwood residents.
"They continue to do a lot with less and we need to support them," he said.
The cost of a reserve police officer being on call over a weekend for prisoner transports, event security or traffic control would be $100, Martinez said. He added that reserves are required to complete extensive training through Contra Costa County's Law Enforcement Training Center Basic Academy in Pittsburg.
Bryant said that this program will help combat the recent string of burglaries in the city and other crime that could carry over from surrounding cities.
In other police-related news, Brentwood officials are considering the benefits of using video surveillance or license plate readers throughout the city to suppress crime. Council members opted to continue researching the costs and monitor the experiences of other police departments over the next six months before purchasing this costly technology.
"There is no doubt that this has the potential to be a tremendous tool. However, there is no replacement (for) a police officer," Bryant said.
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